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CRIME

Swedish mass murderer gets four more years

Swedish mass murderer Mattias Flink, convicted of killing seven people, is set to be released in 2019 after the appeals court confirmed a lower court decision.

Swedish mass murderer gets four more years

Örebro district court ruled in July to commute Flink’s life sentence to 32 years, meaning that he would have been eligible for release within five years.

The court’s ruling was appealed by the prosecutor but the ruling has been confirmed by the appeals court (Hovrätten), although the killer’s prison term has been extended to 36 years.

Flink was originally sentenced to life in prison for seven murders and three attempted murders in Falun in 1994. The appeals court ruling now means that under Swedish parole conditions, Flink could be eligible for release in 2019.

Flink was 24 in June 1994 when he shot seven people to death and injured three others shots in the vicinity of Dalregementet in Falun, where he was stationed and held the rank of second lieutenant in the armed forces.

He had earlier argued with his girlfriend and was heavily intoxicated when he fired 51 rounds from his military-issued AK5 rifle, killing five women and two men aged 20 to 35 in a park in the centre of town.

Flink is currently housed in the closed prison in Beateberg, south of Stockholm.

In electing to commute Flink’s sentence the Örebro court decided not to follow the Supreme Court’s (Högsta domstolen) practice, under which culpability for murder receives between 18 and 24 years in prison. The punishment is higher partly because the law is based on the seriousness of each individual indictment.

However, the district court did refer to the Supreme Court’s life sentence, in which a mitigating factor in Flink’s case was that he could not control his actions due to psychosis.

The court also assessed Flink’s risk of relapse and reached the conclusion that he has demonstrated exemplary behaviour while imprisoned and noted that he had completed 30 home leave visits without incident.

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CRIME

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

A man was shot to death in Kristianstad, Skåne, late on Thursday night. He is the 48th person to be shot dead in Sweden this year, meaning that the previous record for most fatal shootings in one year set in 2020 has now been broken.

Sweden breaks yearly record for fatal shootings

“Unfortunately we can’t say more than that he’s in his twenties and we have no current suspects,” duty officer Mikael Lind told TT newswire.

According to police statistics, this most recent deadly shooting means that 48 people have been shot to death in 2022, meaning that Sweden has broken a new record for deadly shootings per year.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s police chief Anders Thornberg said that this number is likely to rise even higher before the end of the year.

“It looks like we’re going to break the record this year,” he told TT on Tuesday. “That means – if it continues at the same pace – around 60 deadly shootings.”

“If it ends up being such a large increase that would be very unusual,” said Manne Gerell, criminiologist at Malmö University.

“We saw a large increase between 2017 and 2018, and we could see the same now, as we’re on such low figures in Sweden. But it’s still worrying that it’s increasing by so much over such a short time period,” he said.

There also seems to be an upwards trend in the number of shootings overall during 2022. 273 shootings had occured by September 1st this year, compared with 344 for the whole of 2021 and 379 for the whole of 2020.

If shootings continue at this rate for the rest of 2022, it is likely that the total number for the year would be higher than 2021 and 2020. There are, however, fewer injuries.

“The majority of shootings cause no injuries, but this year, mortality has increased substantially,” Gerell explained. “There aren’t more people being shot, but when someone is shot, they’re more likely to die.”

Thursday’s shooting took place in Kristianstad, but it’s only partially true that deadly gun violence is becoming more common in smaller cities.

“It’s moved out somewhat to smaller cities, but we’re overexaggerating that effect,” Gerell said. “We’re forgetting that there have been shootings in other small cities in previous years.”

A report from the Crime Prevention Council (Brå) presented last spring showed that Sweden, when compared with 22 different countries in Europe, was the only one with an upwards trend for deadly shootings.

Temporary increases can be seen during some years in a few countries, but there were no countries which showed such a clear increase as Sweden has seen for multiple years in a row, according to Brå.

The Swedish upwards trend for deadly gun violence began in the beginning of the 2000s, but the trend took off in 2013 and has continued to increase since.

Eight of ten deadly shootings take place in criminal environments, the study showed. The Swedish increase has taken place in principle only among the 20-29 year old age group.

When police chief Anders Thornberg was asked how the trend can be broken, he said that new recruitments are one of the most important factors.

“The most important thing is to break recruitment, make sure we can listen encrypted and that we can get to the profits of crime in a better way,” he said.

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